An Epiretinal Membrane or ERM is a condition in which a clear, transparent and very thin layer of fibrous cellular material forms on the surface of the retina. The macula is affected in this condition and it causes blurred or distorted vision.

Epiretinal Membrane Symptoms

  • Loss of central vision
  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Problems in reading or recognizing faces
  • Straight lines start to appear wavy
  • Double vision

Epiretinal Membrane Causes

In the majority of cases, Epiretinal membranes happen as a part of the normal aging process in which changes occur inside the eye. It is common in people who are over the age of 50. The key cause of this condition is the vitreous gel peels away from the retina. It may also form following a retinal or eye surgery. In some cases, Epiretinal Membrane is related to conditions like eye inflammation, diabetes, blockage of a blood vessel, etc.

Epiretinal membrane Diagnosis

Most cases of Epiretinal membrane are diagnosed during a routine eye test. Your optometrist can use Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT). It is an imaging method used by an ophthalmologist to measure the severity of the condition. In some patients, an eye doctor can suggest additional testing like fluorescein angiography to determine other underlying retinal problems that might have caused this problem.

Epiretinal Membrane Treatment

Most cases of Epiretinal membrane are diagnosed during a routine eye test. Your optometrist can use Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT). It is an imaging method used by an ophthalmologist to measure the severity of the condition. In some patients, an eye doctor can suggest additional testing like fluorescein angiography to determine other underlying retinal problems that might have caused this problem.

Epiretinal Membrane Treatment

Not all Epiretinal Membranes need treatment. Early epiretinal membranes without any visual disturbances can be observed. Treatment with any eyedrops or tablets is ineffective and unnecessary, In severe cases that effect vision, surgery is required. Your eye care professional will help to decide if surgery is necessary and appropriate for you.

Epiretinal Membrane Surgery

Vitrectomy is carried out to treat Epiretinal Membrane. In this surgery, local or general anesthetics are administered. The surgeon makes tiny cuts and removes the clouded vitreous gel from inside. If needed, the doctor gently peels away the membrane from the retina. The cuts are stitched, and an eye pad or shield is put over the eye at the end of the surgery.

Epiretinal Membrane After Effects

A successful surgery helps to correct the distortion of the central vision. After the surgery, your eye doctor will prescribe eye drops to protect the eye from infection and help the eye settle. Most people notice a decrease in their vision distortion and better clarity of the vision after the operation which might take few months as remodeling of retinal layers occurs.

Epiretinal Membrane Precautions

  • Avoid unhygienic environments.
  • Stay away from things or instances that can put the eye at risk of injury.
  • Use eyewear to protect the eye.
  • You need to place your head in a certain way for some time in a day, at least for a few days after the surgery.

Epiretinal Membrane Risks

Like any other surgery, epiretinal membrane surgery involves certain risks, which include bleeding, infection, cataract, retinal detachment, increased eye pressure, etc.

Epiretinal Membrane Recovery

The eye stitches dissolve naturally in about three to six weeks. The eye pads are removed the morning after the operation. The majority of people need at least two weeks off work following their surgery for recovery. You can observe improvement in vision following the operation, but it may take a few months to stabilize the vision.

 

 

S L Prabhavathi

S L Prabhavathi

MS, FVRS, Vitreo-Retina Surgeon at Neoretina
MBBS (2006-2011): Siddartha Medical College Vijayawada(AP)

MS (2013-2016): PGIMER, Chandigarh

FVRS(2016-2018) LVPEI, Bhubaneshwar

Special Interests: Retinopathy of Prematurity, Diabetic Retinopathy, Retinal Dystrophies, Pediatric Retina.
S L Prabhavathi